ATHLETICS: Team avoid relegation with gutsy performance in final league match

Lily-Mae Pursey won the hammer and shot and was second in the discus
Lily-Mae Pursey won the hammer and shot and was second in the discus

Rugby & Northampton AC

Rugby & Northampton AC made the trip to Stoke for the final Division 2 Midland League match lying in fourth place in the table, but with the home team breathing down their necks in the battle to avoid relegation.

As expected the home team turned out their strongest team of the season and claimed a string of victories in the individual events such that after a third of the events Stoke had a commanding lead with R&N back in fifth place.

As the match progressed R&N had a series of good results whilst Stoke faded and after a series of close finishes the result of the match and the relegation battle went down to the relays at the end of the meeting.

In the sprint relays R&N claimed second place in men’s and women’s whilst Stoke dropped the baton in the men’s event.

Then followed a couple of gutsy performances in a pair of exciting 4x400 relays and the final result had Stoke in second place with R&N close behind in third.

This meant that R&N hung on to fourth place overall and condemned the home team to relegation.

In a tightly contested match individual victories were hard to come by, but for the Ladies Lily-Mae Pursey and Ella Watford each had an excellent day.

Lily won the Hammer and Shot and finished second in the Discus, whilst Ella won the Long Jump and High Jump and finished second in the Triple Jump with a new Personal Best of 10.48m.

The only men’s victory was Tom Saunders who took the Triple Jump with a new PB of 11.81m.

There were other second places for Will Price (400m), John Moreland (Discus), Fenton Bishop-Timmings (Javelin) with a PB of 50.64m and Gigi Woodward (Pole Vault) along with a string of 3rd places for Madison Wells (100m & 100H), Emily Cooper (400), John Moreland (Shot), Bradley Whtehead (LJ & 100m), Sam Whittaker (200m), Ollie Munns (S’Chase), Abedon Beyene (3000m) and Tom Saunders (110H).

Perhaps the most notable of these was Abedon who was just squeezed out in a blanket finish to the 3000m, whilst Ollie was a welcome addition to the team in the steeplechase.

The ladies also scored well in the B string events with Eloise Nowill completing a clean sweep of victories in the High Jump during the season and Debbie Murch winning the Hammer, Discus and Shot.

Tia Lynch also had a busy day, taking second in the 200m, third in 100m and running strong legs in each of the relays.

In the men’s B string there were a string of victories for Lee Woodward (PV), Charlie Barker (110H), Tom Saunders (400H) and Kevin Murch (Javelin & Discus). Ian Gidley was second in the High Jump whilst there were also third places for Winston Rose, Tim Cort, Joe Vaughan and Kevin Murch.

The team was completed by Tilly Lea, Myles Martin and James Fletcher, each of whom put in good performances with James running a brave race in the 1500m to claim a PB.

So yet again the League proved to be enjoyable and highly competitive and a fine example for Midlands Athletics, with lots of R&N athletes registering PBs during the season.

Cannock & Stafford won the league thanks to their quality and consistent performances through the season with the gutsy Abingdon team second.

R&N finished fourth, just behind the inconsistent BRAT team whilst Halesowen were relegated along with Stoke. Thanks to all officials, coaches and parents for their support throughout the season.